* The Canadian government has commenced talks with the Pentagon over their planned purchase of 18 F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters, with Ottawa requesting first deliveries to commence in 2019. Data received from the Department of National Defense suggests that the acquisition will cost between $5 and $7 billion over the lifetime of the aircraft. Canadian military officials were in St. Louis two weeks ago to visit the Boeing production line, examining how they can customize their aircraft.
* Raytheon has been awarded a $202 million foreign military sales contract to provide engineering services for international operators of the Patriot weapon system. US allies set to receive the support include Germany, Israel, South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Spain, Taiwan and the Netherlands, with work to be performed in various locations and due to be completed by the end of January 2018. The company’s bid was the only one received.
* Lockheed Martin will continue development of services for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system elements following the award of a $345.5 million Missile Defense Agency (MDA) contract modification. Work to be carried out under the agreement includes the continuation of flight and ground tests of the system, and responsive support to warfighter requirements to sustain the Ballistic Missile Defense System throughout the acquisition life cycle. Used primarily by the US Army, THAAD has also been procured by the UAE, Oman and South Korea.
Middle East & North Africa
* With Turkey’s TAI and BAE Systems continuing with their development of Turkey’s TF-X fighter, there have been some concerns about how the program will develop in relation to technology transfers. Ankara had initially insisted on a full know-how and technology transfer during the program, however the full scope of these agreements have yet to be clarified and could be met with severe disagreements. In response to the prospect that they won’t get full transfer demanded, Turkish officials have made clear that they are willing to negotiate the TF-X with Airbus if at any point during contract talks it faces a deadlock with BAE Systems.
* While a military C-130 aircraft’s primary function is to transport – troops, cargo, medivacs – a model operated by the Pakistan Air Force was recently utilized to deliver a special cargo to the Emir of Qatar. According to a letter reported in local Pakistani media, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif sent the gift of a “beautiful horse,” to the Gulf monarch on February 1. Let’s hope the cleaning isn’t too much of a night-mare for the ground crews.
* The German military will move ahead with replacing their aging short-range air defense systems (SHORAD), following the discovery of a growing capability gap in Europe and the inability to defend against the use of swarms of unmanned aircraft or drones. Initial funding for the program is believed to lie just under $500 million, with a further $2.15 billion to be made available at a later phase. Procurement decisions on the new short-range air defense equipment are not expected until at least 2018, but the ministry could add some 20 million euros to the defense budget this year to fund initial work on the program.
* US Congress has been notified of the potential foreign military sales (FMS) for Sidewinder and Maverick air-to-air missiles to South Korea. The two contracts include the provision of 60 AIM-9X Block II and 89 AGM-65G-2 missiles, alongside required containers, spares and missile support. The combined value of both contracts amounts to $140 million with Raytheon acting as the principal contractor. News of the sale’s clearance coincides with US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’ first visit to South Korea as part of an initiative to assure South Korea and Japan that the Trump Administration is committed to their security. During his election campaign, President Trump suggested that South Korea was not paying enough for the US’ presence on the peninsula.
* Negotiations between the Japanese government, Pentagon, and Lockheed Martin have secured a $100 million reduction in Tokyo’s bill for its participation in the F-35 JSF program. While the news comes shortly after Lockheed Martin slashed $600 million from the next round of F-35 production, defense analysts have downplayed the news of those cuts, saying the discount hailed by Trump was in line with what had been flagged by Lockheed for months and would apply to other countries committed to the program. According to Reuters, four sources confirmed that Japan had further trimmed the price for its latest order, largely on ground support costs such as parts, logistics and technical assistance.
* US Micro Drones Launched by from 3 F/A-18 Super Hornets.: PERDIX + LOCUST: